Last Updated: December 29, 2022

6 best fragrance-free & unscented laundry detergents for sensitive skin.

WRITTEN BY Grove Collaborative • 12 min read

We live in a world of smells. We light candles or spray air freshener to give our homes a fragrant ambience – or to cover up the odor of the fish we just microwaved. We put on cologne, deodorant, and perfume – if not to attract potential mates, at least to cover up the fact that we smell like people. So why would we choose to go fragrance-free with our laundry detergent?

That question is very easy to answer — clothes touch our skin, all day, every day. This means that the dyes, chemicals, and added scents that go into laundry detergent are touching our skin (or our kids’ more sensitive skin) with the same regularity. These additives, found in most commercial laundry soaps, can be harsh on the skin and aggravate existing eczema and psoriasis. This alone is enough to make a person want to go with the best fragrance-free laundry detergent they can find.

This list of products was determined by ratings and reviews from Grove members.

1. Dirty Labs Bio Laundry Detergent with Phytolase® - Free & Clear

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Dirty Labs Bio Laundry Detergent with Phytolase®-Free & Clear is tough on dirt but oh-so-gentle on your clothes, your skin, and the environment. It uses science to target stains and bad smells at their source. Formulated with biobased, utterly nontoxic ingredients, fragrance-free and biodegradable to boot, the National Eczema Association even …

1 count
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2. Seventh Generation Baby Baby Natural Laundry Detergent

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According to the California Department of Education, the first five years of a child’s life are the most important. Start things off right from the beginning in the laundry room, too, and wash your child’s clothes with Seventh Generation Baby Natural Laundry Detergent. This USDA-certified, 97-percent bio-based detergent is free of fragrances, dyes, …

45 Oz, 30 Loads
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3. Babyganics 3x Laundry Detergent

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From major blowouts to milk-fueled spit-ups, babies know how to do at least one thing right from the start — make a big mess. Battle the toughest of turnouts with Babyganics 3x Laundry Detergent. This Babyganics detergent is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, chlorine-free, phthalate-free, phosphate-free, dye-free, and formulated without optical …

35 oz
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4. Seventh Generation Liquid Laundry Detergent

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Is your sensitive nose sniffing around for a lightly scented laundry detergent? We may have found your perfect match — the Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent 2x Concentrate. This laundry detergent is tough on dirt and stains but gentle on your skin and nose. There are no artificial dyes, synthetic fragrances, or harsh chemicals, so you can …

45 Oz, 30 Loads
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5. Grove Co. Laundry Detergent Sheets

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Pre-measured laundry detergent sheets that instantly dissolve and remove tough stains, proven to be more powerful than other clean detergent sheet brands.* Plastic-free and crafted to be sustainably powerful for a healthy home and planet.

Our laundry detergent sheets are proven to have more powerful stain …

32 Loads
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6. method Laundry Detergent Pour

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Did you spill wine on your favorite shirt again, or did your kid plaster spaghetti sauce on their t-shirt? No problem! Get stains out on the spot with this method Laundry Detergent Pour (10 Load). It goes to work in your washer to fight against tough dirt and stains, no matter whether you’re washing whites or bright colors. This laundry detergent …

8.1 Oz, 10 Loads
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What does fragrance-free mean?

We should emphasize that fragrance-free and unscented do not always mean the same thing where laundry detergent is concerned. With fragrance-free laundry detergents, there are no ingredients added that impact the fragrance of the soap. That shouldn't be a problem though, because it's usually a very faint but pleasant aroma.

On the other hand, conventional unscented laundry detergents often have added chemicals to neutralize the scents. Manufacturers do this to prevent any smell whatsoever from carrying over to your clothes. Often these chemicals are just as harsh on your skin as the artificial fragrances they add to the detergent to begin with. Not only that, these chemicals can also weaken the fabric of your clothes, causing them to wear out sooner than they should. The best unscented laundry detergents are natural and won’t have any chemicals added to mask the scent of the soap's ingredients.

Can you add essential oil to fragrance-free laundry detergent?

We go fragrance-free because we want to do what's best for our skin and for our clothes. However, there is something to be said about pulling our clothes—still warm—from the dryer and being struck with a scintillating scent.

There are many ways to bring a bright and shiny fragrance to your clothes that don't involve harsh chemical perfumes. One easy way to add life to your clean laundry is to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your fragrance-free detergent.

You can also add a drop or two to the water as the washer is filling before you put in your clothes. This will have a similar effect, and you aren't married to the same fragrance for the life of the detergent bottle. You can use a different oil with each load if you wish. A good essential oil won't stain your clothes or accelerate deterioration, but it will carry that fresh, fragrant breeze through to your clothes, leaving them smelling delightful.

Which laundry detergent is best for allergies?

The two most common allergens found in laundry detergent are enzymes and perfumes.

Bio laundry detergents use enzymes, which aren't bad. They're actually helpful, because they break down proteins that begrime our clothes. However, if you have sensitive skin or allergies, having these enzymes in your clothes may trigger an allergic reaction or cause irritation. Some enzymes can also accelerate fabric deterioration.

Perfumes are added to detergents for the sole purpose of providing a nice smell to clothes once they're clean, and serve no other function. Most commercial detergents use synthetic chemicals to make these perfumes. These chemicals with unpronounceable names are often replete with allergens and contain ingredients we didn't even know existed.

It's safe to say if you're prone to allergies, it is best to seek out a laundry detergent that is free of both of these things. There are plenty of them out there to choose from, so find yourself the best fragrance-free laundry detergent for sensitive skin, and take a peek at our guide on natural laundry to learn more about how to give your garments a good wash. Your skin will thank you.

What is Grove Collaborative?

At Grove, we take the guesswork out of which products are good for you and your home. Every product meets strict standards for being nontoxic, effective, sustainable, and cruelty-free. Once you find products you love, we ship to your home on a flexible, monthly schedule.

If you're ready to make the transition to natural cleaning, beauty, and household products, shop Grove Collaborative's natural products for the eco-friendly tools to tackle the job.

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